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US attempts to shift responsibility for food crisis to Russia absurd, says envoy

Statements are unprofessional, Anatoly Antonov said
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

WASHINGTON, August 6. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov slammed as absurd Washington’s attempts to shift responsibility for the global food crisis to Russia.

"Attempts to shift all responsibility to Russia are absurd. As always - a lot of lies here. Statements are unprofessional, without proper analysis and understanding of the situation, or rather the absence of desire to understand the essence of the problem," the Russian envoy said on Friday, when asked to comment on the recent statements by head of the US Agency for International Development Samantha Power.

The Russian ambassador said the shortage of agricultural products was due to the consequences of the pandemic, disruptions in supply chains, inflation, accelerated urbanization, accumulated soil fatigue, climate change and other factors.

"A separate place in this row takes the `array’ of illegal anti-Russian sanctions. The restrictions are deliberately designed to confuse and intimidate foreign companies and complicate their cooperation with Russian enterprises as much as possible," the Russian embassy quoted Antonov as saying on its Telegram channel.

Despite this, Antonov said, Russia persevered with its efforts to strengthen food security. Since 2003, Russia has been making contributions to the fund of the UN World Food Program. The country acts as a reliable and responsible supplier of products to the world agricultural market, he said. And Russia is actively working with foreign colleagues, Antonov added. He pointed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's recent tour to Africa, namely Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. During Lavrov’s tour, Russia’s partners confirmed the rich, mutually beneficial and fruitful nature of the meetings, Antonov said.

"Washington, it seems, could not come to terms with its absence among the participants of the quadrilateral initiative on the safe transportation of grain and food from the ports of Ukraine of July 22. It is significant that American officials generally prefer not to talk about the signing of a memorandum between Russia and the United Nations on the same day to promote the export of Russian agricultural products," Antonov remarked.

"For our part, we can only welcome the resumption of agricultural shipments across the Black Sea. We hope that the Ukrainian side and its curators in the West will not try to undermine this process as well as they will stop pretending to be `saints’ when it comes to prioritizing supplies to starving developing countries. After all, as far as we know, two of the three dry cargo ships that left Ukrainian harbors this morning are heading to Europe," the Russian diplomat concluded.